ST. LOUIS -- Center Paul Stastny was the hottest free agent commodity at his position last summer because he was viewed as a player who could add instant offense.
After losing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to teams with more depth at center each of the past three seasons, the St. Louis Blues signed Stastny to a four-year, $28 million contract July 1 because they felt he would even the playing field. They needed a playmaking center, one who could help them match up against some of the Western Conference's best down the middle.
The 29-year-old, who finished with 16 goals and 46 points in 74 games this season, fit the bill.
The numbers may not indicate it, but the Blues have that experienced center they can use in all situations.
"I want to be out there. I'm not afraid to fail," said Stastny, whose father, Peter Stastny, finished his Hall of Fame career in St. Louis. "I think that's the most important thing. ... You want to be the guy that's a game-changer. Sometimes it won't go your way; it doesn't matter. As long as you go out there with that mentality where you know you're going to be a difference-maker, that's what you want."